3 AM. Lil Wayne’s How to Love breaks through the quiet. Snooze. 5 minutes later, Bruno Mars adds to the din. Snooze — Oh sh*t! Time to drive from SF to SJ at the crack of dawn…for work.
Today, I experienced my first and last Black Friday, on the other side of the retail freakfest. It was a nightmare.
3 45AM. My sweet boyfriend made me coffee and packed Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Half dazed, I scrambled into my work outfit. I hugged him goodbye and dashed out to my car. 4 00AM. I drove down Highway 35. Not a soul in sight. 4 25AM. 100MPH on 280 S. 4 40AM. Engulfed in heavy fog. I literally could not see 2 feet ahead of me. 25 MPH…gaze intent ahead on the road.
4 50AM. I pulled into the designated employee parking lot 2.6 miles away from my destination, signed in, and hopped onto the shuttle. 5 00AM. Ready, set, go.
Noon. Why can’t time fly faster? Angry, impatient, and aggressive customers everywhere, wanting things pronto. Frazzled holiday hires. Grumpy tenured associates. Oh, the joy. 2 00 PM. Cheek muscles in severe spasms from over-smiling. 3 00PM. Meager lunch break. 4 00 PM Leg muscle spasms from running around too much dealing with customer issues, performing manager overrides, and coaching inexperienced associates. 4 30 PM Collapsed into mangled heap at the shuttle stop.
More than 12 hours later, I toppled into my bed — mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.
I’ve truly gleaned a newfound sense of serious respect for the service industry. The sales associate at the counter, the bell boy at the hotel, the waitress at your local diner, the security officer patrolling the facilities alone in the cold at 3 AM, the janitor that cleans up after everyone’s mess. They work to serve, and each and every one of them deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Retail and service workers, I salute you.
Today, I received a phone call. It was pretty much the best phone call of my life. Doesn’t matter that I was scurrying around work with three phones (the executive in charge phone, my corporate phone, and my personal cell) getting terrible reception. When I got that call, I felt like everything was worth it. All of my highs and lows, struggles and letdowns….I’ve finally accomplished my goal for the past few years.
It must be my good luck charm Aaron, who took time out of his busy schedule in Beijing to catch up. 😉
I flew through the rest of the day, and celebrated with my mommy over dinner at Chen Ma Ma’s. Then, I headed to my favorite place for release – Music Tunnel KTV, with some of my favorite people to sing with. Alan, Jason, John, Elex, Kyle, and my roommate Annie :). I’d have to say tonight was one of my funnest K-sessions yet!
Happiest Day Ever.
Today was the day of my Waterford Crystal Event, featuring Waterford Crystal’s Design Director Jim O’Leary. Every year, Jim flies in from Ireland to connect with American lovers of Waterford and their timeless Lismore cut.
It was a smashing success. Jim was so sincere, knowledgeable, and an all-around sweetheart. He gave a wonderful presentation on Waterford, and settled down with a glass of wine for product signing. The refreshments and wine were just the right portion, the audience loved it, and the line to talk to Jim and get their Waterford signed never stopped filling with people.
I was a bit starstruck, as Jim created many of Waterford’s most popular collections. My favorite is the 10-year collectible edition of Snowflake, with a new color of flute every year.
Over the course of the afternoon, Jim and I became friends. When it was slower, we would chat about our interests, career track, and life decisions. He told me about working his way up for 23 years with Waterford, from an apprentice crystal cutter to Design Director. I told him about my confusions regarding career, my past experiences, and my love for travel, books & music. He told me he understood, and that everyone needs time & experience to mold their own path. Then he recommended that I read Life of Pi.
I left work that day with 3 new personally autographed pieces Waterford Crystal, a new friend, and a brand new appreciation for fine crystals and collectibles.
At this stage of my life, I’d still much rather drop a few grand on a trip somewhere to Asia. Africa. Maybe Europe. Peru? But I definitely understand, and appreciate the allure of fine craftsmanship much much more.
Thank you Jim.
Today was the start of my second assignment as a sales manager. A new office, new team of people, new culture – it was pretty exciting, albeit overwhelming. I sped down 280S from Pacifica at 7am in the morning, and arrive just a tad fashionably late to meet my new Vice President and fellow buddy Lane.
Floor tours, cascade meetings, personal interviews, and introductions….9.5 hours later I did some unwinding over dinner at China Stix with ma mere.
We’ll see how this goes.
Today marks the end of an era. Kind of. Today is the last day of my rotation here in Palo Alto.
4+ hour meetings, presentations to big bosses, visits from friends, and a last lunch at Yucca De Lac with my dear Sylvia. I will miss seeing her lovely face almost every day.
After my last day of work, I drove up to Oakland for a birthday dinner and an epic Group K meetup. There’s nothing like a night of musical revelry to celebrate a milestone like today.